Selecting a Kayak Paddle

Selecting a Kayak Paddle

Christopher Harshbarger

Once you have chosen the kayak that works best for you, it's time to choose a kayak paddle. This choice is going to have a significant impact on your kayaking experience. You will have to take into account that you have to carry the paddle, and will also have to swing it effectively to move through the water. When you choose the right kayak paddle, you will maximize your enjoyment while out on the water. The right paddle also reduces the effects of fatigue and injuries during your kayak adventure.

When making your selection of paddles for kayaking, you need to answer a few questions:

  • What style of kayaking will you be doing?
  • What style of paddle are you looking for?
  • How wide is your kayak?
  • How tall are you?

Once you know the answer to these questions, you can begin choosing which kayak paddle will work best for your needs.

Style of Kayak Paddles

There are two styles of paddles for kayaking. The two styles include high and low angles. The high angle paddle is a more powerful and aggressive tool and is kept perpendicular to the water. This type of paddle is excellent when you are looking for speed or kayaking in rough waters. A high angle paddle is going to cause strain on your shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but with good padding, you can overcome these drawbacks. A high angle kayak paddle is a shorter paddle than the low angle style.

A low angle paddle is kept parallel to the water and is best suited for recreational kayaking as you fish, or tour the waters. The style of a paddle is great when you want to cover a significant distance while out on the water versus trying to speed through a ride. A low-angle kayak paddle is an efficient tool causing minimal impact on your shoulders or elbows. The low angle style of a paddle is a longer paddle than the high angle style.

Length of Kayak Paddles

If you are using your kayak as a recreational or fishing vessel, the width of the paddle is going to be important. Fishing or recreational kayaking requires a wide paddle from between twenty-six to thirty inches. The wider kayak you have, the wider paddle you will want.

Sea kayaks and touring models typically use a more narrow paddle over what the fishing or recreational models use. These narrower paddles are designed for efficiency and performance. You can find the narrower paddles in either the high or low angle style depending on your objectives.

If you are choosing a kayak paddle for whitewater kayaking, these paddles are nearly the same width overall. Your height and weight will be the determining factors when choosing a paddle for these events. The rule of thumb is to pick a shorter paddle for freestyle or play-boating, and a longer length for creeking or river running.

Factors to consider when selecting the size of your kayak paddle are the width of your kayak, if you are a low-angle or high angle kayaker, and your body measurements. This chart on 'how to size a kayak paddle' should help you determine the size that will fit you best.

Shaft on the Kayak Paddle

The shafts on a kayak paddle can be either bent or straight. The straight shafts are easier to construct, are stronger, lighter, and less expensive. The bent shafts have a 'kink' in them to allow your wrists and hands to find the best possible position during your strokes. The bent shafts are higher performance tools, heavier, cause less fatigue to use, and are more expensive.

There are also choices on the material used in the kayak paddle construction. The varieties range from plastic to aluminum, fiberglass and carbon fiber. How durable and expensive your paddle will be is determined by the material of construction you choose.

The aluminum and plastic kayak paddle are your least expensive choice and also the lightest paddle. It is likely you will, however, end up replacing these type of paddles more often. Carbon fiber and fiberglass will give you a more durable kayak paddle that will work better out on the water.

Where to Choose the Right Kayak Paddle

Hoodoo Sports provides high quality, mid-range priced outdoor equipment for your outdoor adventures. If you are looking for the right kayak paddle, our experts will help you determine the best selection for your needs. As a family-owned business, we pride ourselves on our world-class customer service and top-quality products.

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